The Night Market, the view from Doi Suthep and Wat Suan Dok

Last night we finally got a chance to check out the famous Chiang Mai Night Market! We parked near Anusarn and walked along the strip for a while, trying to bargain and checking out the different shops. They actually seemed pretty pricey compared to some of the other places that we’ve shopped in Thailand, but it seems like the shop attendants are ready and willing to bargain.

Eventually we found an open air food court with live music. It was a nice break after the wall to wall shops. We spent an hour getting food and enjoying a guitar and violin duet.

This morning I went to my Thai class as usual. Class is really getting hard! We cover so much and we’ve learned enough now to start getting things confused. Today I struggled to understand what everyone was saying. A total contrast from yesterday which went well. I did study more on Tuesday than the other night, but I also think that it’s fatigue building up from the whole week.

On the other hand I’ve been thinking in Thai more and more. I’m also starting to get kind of creative. For example while I don’t have much of a vocabulary I was thinking about different ways that I could explain myself in various scenarios. Like I don’t know the word for gas, but I bet it’s either just gas or if that’s not it I could probably make myself understood by saying something like motorcycle water, which while it probably isn’t correct might get the point across.

After class we got some lunch at a western style bistro called Rustic & Blue. I got the Brekkie Stack, a short stack of french toast with bacon and a fried egg, all drizzled with maple syrup. That was really tasty, plus the bacon was cooked nice and crispy which is difficult to find in Thailand. To drink I had a yerba mate tea. Also very nice.

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Originally we planned to drive our scooters up Doi Suthep again, however about 20 minutes into the ride right when we stopped to admire a good view of the city it started to drizzle. I did get a nice photo of Chiang Mai.

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Instead we decided to check out Wat Suan Dok, a nearby temple that hosts a monk chat. A monk chat is basically a session you can schedule with some of the younger monks to talk and ask any questions. You can have a simple chat or dive into advanced theology at your preference. We decided to save that for a different time and just admired the grounds.

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Afterward we went to Wat Umong, another temple in the Chiang Mai area that has the distinction of having a series of underground tunnels. My boyfriend actually looked up the history on it after we got home and learned that at one point the underground tunnels were painted like the jungle. Allegedly there was a famous but now senile monk that would wander off into the bush and these tunnels we a way to keep him at the monastery.

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While I’m not sure if that story is true, Wat Umong was different than all of the other temples that I have seen in Thailand and definitely one of the coolest. It is still occupied by monks but it has an older faded quality that I love. The bricks are slippery with old moss and it’s almost as if it is slowly being taken back by nature. While the walls inside the tunnels are now bare plaster and brick work, the walls are stained with incense and you can hear chanting off in the distance.

Taking our scooter into the mountains of Chiang Mai

Yesterday we went up to Huai^ dtung tao^ on our scooters. It was a fun ride! We finally escaped the city and got to see some of the more rural villages.

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We stopped at this look out point to take in the epic view. Unfortunately my iPhone just didn’t have the capability to capture the full majesty of it. The mountains off in the distance created these varied blue shadows that looked awesome in person. You will have to use your imagination!

Looks dark but it really wasn't that day, it's just the contrast. I will have to try and fix it in Photoshop/
Looks dark but it really wasn’t that day, it’s just the contrast. I will have to try and fix it in Photoshop/

After riding around for a while we stopped at this Strawberry themed cafe. The hot chocolates and mocha we ordered in the restaurant were good, but I would recommend skipping the strawberry sodas and strawberry wine. The wine tastes a little like rubbing alcohol and the sodas taste exactly like strawberry jam. Below is the view from the outdoor cafe.

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We managed to go around the whole mountain in about three hours, not too bad! I know the guys had a lot of fun taking out their scooters.  We will definitely be back to check out more of the stops along the way next time.